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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  September 24, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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political future. >> you know, i wish i could predict the future. cannot, so can't answer that question right now. all that plus tom delay lives to dance another day. and youtube video of the longest basketball shot ever. is it real? it's all ahead on "the big picture." good afternoon, i'm tamron hall live in new york. >> and i'm norah o'donnell, live in washington. david shuster has the day off. >> norah, developing news in "the big picture" this afternoon, a tense scene at the g-20 world economic summit. police ordered hundreds of protesters to stop their march protestings g-20 summit. police in riot gear appeared to use what we believe may be tear gas to disperse that crowd. the march is not sanctioned by the city, and police declared it as unlawful assembly. it is the first of two days of marches planned by the pittsburgh g-20 resistance project. the protests come as president obama arrives -- is expected to rive shortly at his hotel in
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pittsburgh now any minute now for the two-day meeting with world leaders. about a half hour ago, the president touched down in pittsburgh. his meetings with the world's most powerful leaders come as the global economy sim proving. the leaders will work on ways to prevent new financial meltdowns. cnbc's chief washington competent john harwood joins us now. john, what is at the heart of this meeting? i know we can talk in broad context of fixing the global economy, but specifically here, what is the goal for this president? >> well, basically what president obama's is trying to use this pittsburgh meeting for is to gather world leaders and say we did the right thing in april when we gathered in london. we stimulated the economy. we put a bunch of money into international financial institutions, and that's why the economy in the united states by the testimony of bernanke and others is beginning to turn around. we have to keep that going. they are alsotamron, now is not time, it's too fragile, look at
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the unemployment rate, 9.7%, too fragile to law the federal help, assistance from washington to the economy and try to get a consensus on that for leaders around the worldment at the same time they work on things like financial regulation, including some limits or new incentives on executive compensation. >> and, john, we've been watching some of the protests already happening. a couple of people, about 15, have been arrested and we watched a confrontation between riot police and protesters there. tell us a little bit, on your way in, what was the scene there? it's far different obviously than what we saw in london. we saw some pretty violent confrontations between protesters and police. >> well, it has been a tamer scene than london was, and i have to confess, tamron, i walked in here with my producer at 5:00 in the morning. there was nobody on the street. nothing had started then. i have been inside the security perimeter ever since. but there were marchers, protesters against globalization. there were environmental protesters who did not get the
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permits that the city requires for marches like that, and that's why you saw the clashes. and it's a repeat of what we saw ten years ago in seattle when international officials gathered for a trade conference, you saw violence on the streets there. this is pretty low key compared to that. we will see what develops over the next 24 hours. but this kind of clash is why they have police out by the platoons to try to secure the city. >> john, thank you very much. >> you bet. and in "the big picture," president obama on the world stage. "time" magazine's joe kleine and others have written about the president's standing overseas. mr. obama has had some success on the domestic front, he's facing many frustration as broad from iran to afghanistan and, of course, even the global financial crisis, which he is going to be addressing tonight at the g-20 summit. joining us now live is mark whitaker, nbc's washington bureau chief. mark, let's use this piece that joe kleine wrote about in "time" magazine as a jumping off point for this discussion. what about that, that he may end this year with some great
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domestic accomplishments. whether it's a huge stimulus proposal and then perhaps the health care bill. but on the foreign policy front, he's really having some tough times. >> well, another point that joe was make sthag ing is that as ps barack obama is around the world, as excited as people were throughout the globe by his election, ultimately the leaders he has to deal with are going to judge him and his political clout based on what he can accomplish on the home front. so if he doesn't get health care, if he didn't get some of his legislative goals on the home front, it's also going to hurt him in lining up his allies on the foreign front. >> he's had to deal with a lot of certainly big issues this week, whether it's been iran, but afghanistan is really the next big decision that this president faces in terms of whether to go ahead and approve a large troop increase. what are you hearing? >> well, and you'll notice that for all of the issues that they discussed at the u.n., they really did not talk about afghanistan, because that is a real point of tension now. we have nato forces there.
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the british are fighting. a lot of the other allies are alongside us, but there's a lot of growing resistance in all of those countries to the mission. and what i find really interesting about this is that the military is not giving the president any wiggle room in terms of redefining this mission. there was only one option in the mccrystal report, option a. there was not an option b or option c. and then petraeus comes out yesterday and says, look, if we're going to make this work, the only way we can do it is with the mccrystal plan. so, yes, there's growing opposition within the party but the military is making it tough for the president to change course here. >> you make a great point. i thought about this yesterday. given that, that report has been leaked and then petraeus adding publicly that he supports that it's more troops or else failure, what option does the president have, and what does he risk sort of politically even if he decides to take a different route than what his generals are proposing? >> well, you know, they say that
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they're looking at other options but who are they? are they from biden? other people who want limited missions? it's interesting to see what gates does. gates, if they do change the mission, secretary gates is the one person who can actually give them cover. i was talking with top pentagon officials this week about this, and i was saying, well, is there anything sort of the mccrystal plan? can you just do counterterrorism? they say no. counterterrorism from offshore won't work. i say, well, what about giving the mccrystal plan 12 to 18 months and re-evaluate something they said no, if it's going to work, we really need three to five years. essentially what they're saying is if the president wants to redefine this mission, it's fine. but it's going to be a political decision and not a military decision. >> great point. mark whitaker, our bureau chief. thanks, mark. tamron, you just heard -- we were talking about this is going to be the next big story for the president, whether he is able to buck or change strategy. i don't know what the word is
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you want to use but this is clearly there are indications he wants to try to do something different. >> i think the headline said the president is in a box is probably the shortest and most accurate way to put it but we will see how he gets out of that box. that surely will come here very soon. norah, there are major developments today involving what is believed to be one of the most serious terror plots in the united states since 9/11. najibullah zazi has now been indicted on a charge of conspireing to detonate weapons of mass destruction, namely bottoms. he was arrested in denver last weekend. but the indictment came today in new york. meantime, he and two others arrested last weekend also appeared in court today. all of this as authorities continue to search for evidence and more possible suspects. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins us now with the late. pete, we learned a lot more from the court documents about the alleges against zazi. what can you tell us? >> we sure have. he now faces this terrorism charge, much more serious than lying to the fbi.
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that carried a maximum of eight years. this new charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. what the authorities say is that in july and august, and in early september, zazi and at least three others in the denver area were going around to various chemical supply stores and buying commonly available chemicals that can be used to combine to make a powerful explosive. the same kind that was used in the 2005 london bus and subway attacks. and it said that zazi three times rented a hotel room in suburban denver that had a stove in it and used that stove apparently to heat the chemicals, to boil away excess water and concentrate them. and it also says that in the last day he was in the hotel doing that, he was communicating with someone else, apparently struggling to try to figure out how to get this formula to work, sending increasing messages of what they say increasing urgency asking how to fine tune this chemical formula. and then, of course, he drove to new york. and just before leaving, investigators say, he searched
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on the internet for home improvement stores in the bureau of queens, where he ended up there visiting people that would sell similar chemicals. now, a couple of things. what we don't know and what we're led to believe is he never actually mastered this form laxt he never actually produced any explosive. he certainly wasn't found with any when he drove to new york or any of the precursor chemicals but it's a clear sign, authorities say, that here is someone who came from the united states -- or rather left from the united states, went to pakistan, took training from al qaeda in how to make bombs, then came back to the united states and started trying to figure out how to carry this out, how to make bottoms. bombs. so for that reason, they say, they agree with your assessment, this is one of the most serious terrorism cases since 9/11. >> pete, let me ask, i'm kerous in the surveillance of zazi, as you pointed out he was in contact with somebody. do we know or do the court documents case if that
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individual was in this country or not? >> no. the supposition is it was probably someone in pakistan that he was dealing with. but where this investigation now stands is some of these folks that he was talking with and working with have been cooperating with authorities, we're told. some have been talking -- not saying everything they know, and some have been totally uncooperative. so these new charges against zazi with a maximum of life in prison if he's convicted, certainly send a signal to other people that the fbi's been trying to talk with, that they may face similar, very serious charges, and that the window is closing for them if they're going to make a deal. >> all right. nbc's pete williams, thank you very much, pete. it is incredible, norah, some of these items were sought by zazi at a beauty supply place. it sounds so trivial but the thing that's people can use for destructive purposes or allegedly in this case, is shocking. >> acetone, peroxide, all of those things. i'm just glad they're slowly piecing together this puzzle and
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know at least where this guy's been and that they wrapped up the other guy as well. >> absolutely. up next -- sarah palin's parting shot. was she said just before leaving hong kong. and new details about that speech she gave behind closed door. i think nothing stays behind closed doors these days with cell phones and cameras. >> that's right. that's how we got some intel on that. and, of course, we're keeping an eye on the g-20 protests in pittsburgh. unbelievable pictures. they're not huge but you will see the new techniques police are using. you're watching "the big picture" here on msnbc. you're the colon lady! diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating. that's me! can i tell you what a difference phillips' colon health has made? it's the probiotics. the good bacteria. that gets your colon back in balance. i'm good to go! phillips' colon health.
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welcome back. with another chapter of the palin chronicle for you today. >> that's right. the former alaskan governor headed home after stepping onto the world stage with a speech to some investors in hong kong. it was her first major appearance since resigning as governor in july. she got paid big bucks for that speech. and at the airport, she deflected a question about her political future. >> you know, i wish i could predict the future. cannot, so can't answer that question right now. but look forward to more opportunities to send good messages from the u.s. and hopefully help meet some of the challenges we're all facing today. >> the event was closed to the media, but we're learning more details about what was said behind those closed doors. palin never mentioned president obama by name, but she did take indirect swipes at him. at one point she said this,
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reportedly, quote, the town halls and the tea party movement are both party of a growing grassroots consciousness among ordinary americans who decide thed that if they want real change, they must take the lead and not wait to be led. real change. and, you know, you don't need a title to do it. joining us now is political reporter andy barr, and as you heard, palin wouldn't talk about her future, but she might be taking, i guess some might say, a first step towards a 2012 presidential run whaxts do y. what do you think, andy? was it some of that or just get ago big, fat paycheck? >> i think the second one is more a motivation for this speech. this was an attempt by her to get out in front, to start taking on some of these issues. it would have been open press and a forum here. the one thing that's good for her is that it exposes her to a lot of people who in terms of her normal audience and that kind of conservative grassroots don't hear from her a lot. if she was able to impress some of these folks, maybe, who knows, it could pay dividends for her down the road.
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>> do we know whether she took the time while she was there in china to learn anything about china? >> they were kept very kind of tight grip of her schedule. we're not quite sure what else she did while she was out there. interesting thing about this speech, though, looking at those foreign policy sections that were talked about, what we do know that she did on the way over, talking with randy schuenemann a lot, of course, john mccain's foreign policy adviser. very heavy schuenemann influence through the speech. that was an interesting note of all of this. >> absolutely. there's already been reaction to sarah palin's remarks in hong kong, specifically on china. i just got this in the last couple of hours ain my e-mail bx from the house foreign committee chairman and he said this -- in remarks before business leaders in hong kong, former governor palin urged china to rise responsibly. as she continues on the lecture circuit, ms. palin should take her own advise, leaving aside
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the propriety of criticizing the president while on her first trip to asia, the assertion that the united states is ignoring areas of disagreement with china is flat wrong. he went on to say the assertion is putting this on the right course. interesting from the chairman that he's concerned she's out of line. >> that's right. of course, there's kind of a long understanding that you don't criticize when you're abroad. you remember vice president al gore really got hit for that one time when he did it. in terms of what she said, i don't really see any other people who would stand up to say this. i think a lot of democrats would like it see what she said kind of move on. she's an easy ally -- or an easy target, i should say, for democrats. but at the same time what she says in terms of the relations there between u.s. and china doesn't have too much of an impact on the white house. >> and just quick answer to this question, do you know, because you've been reporting on this, she's had some like 1,000 requests to attend political
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events on speeches. do we know what's next for her? >> no, we don't. they keep very tight grips on her schedule. the one thing about this is, you know, we're hearing that she's getting paid well into the six figures in terms of for this event. i expect the next event that she does will be the same. the one thing, she can pick and choose to do just about anything that she wants. tons of people looking to bring her in and they're all going to pay her a lot to do it. >> politico's andy barr. good information. thanks, andy. tamron, if you can get it. but it's amazing that a lot of these groups will share out over $100,000 more to hear sarah palin speak. >> it is impressive, that kind of money for sure, norah. up next -- what some are claiming is the longest basketball shot ever. but do you think this is real? we're going to look at some of the video and tell you why people are so skeptical of it. plus -- one big baby. you know, tamron, this is my favorite story. >> norah's "pic of the day." >> that's right.
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nyou know, there are a lot f things considered news in this world, but, norah, there are only a few stories that make us say "no way." a group of students who called themselves dude perfect claims to have videotaped the world's longest basketball shot. but many are asking, is this real? >> what? oh, my god! >> okay. there it is. the youtube video shows one member of the group throwing a basketball from the top tier of a football stadium straight into the basket on the far side of the field. two videos were shot. one from the thrower's perspective, one from beneath the basket. experts say it looks like the real deal. the men say they will sponsor one child at a charity for compassion for 100 views of the video. that means we should all look at this thing.
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more than 3 million people view td so far so it makes it a did cause even if it's not real, norah. >> you're a texas girl. you're going to go -- the aggies, man. >> the aggies. >> your husband is a hook 'em horns girl? >> i went to temple. i chose temple. >> i got another story for you. oh, baby. take a look at this bouncing baby boy. i'm talking about the one there on the right. he came into the world weighing a whopping 19 pounds, 2 ounces. no, he's not my son, but the baby, who is is yet to be named, is a staggering 24 inches long. he was born by c-section on monday in indonesia. and to give you an idea of how big he is, look at what a normal size baby looks like by his side. doctors say the boy's extraordinary size is probably due to the fact that his 41-year-old mother has diabetes. all right, tamron, i know you were on the "today" show this
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morning. what did al roker say about the picture of the big baby and the little baby? >> i think al said, the bigger baby looked at the little baby and said, is that a burrito? it is so wrong he would say that. >> that is so wrong but i love al roker. he is funny. >> that's a big baby. >> that's a cute baby. but he's a big one. up next -- tempers flare in this health care debate. whoa! lawmakers fighting over how to change the baucus bill. we'll have a live report. >> things are getting pretty nasty now. but, first, president obama today spearheading a u.n. effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. we're going to talk with queen noor of jordan, who's been calling attention to the fight across the world. [ woman ] dear cat. gentle cat. your hair mixes with pollen and dust in the air. i get congested. my eyes itch. i have to banish you to the garden. but now with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant.
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progressive. call or click today. i'm sharon epperson with your cnbc markets wrap. stocks ending down on wall street today. the dow lost 41 points.
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the s&p 500 dropped 10 points and the nasdaq fell 23 points. oil prices tumbled today as weak home sale numbers added to the to the economic recovery. oil dropped more than 4% to settle just under $66 a barrel. after four months of gains, existing home sales dipped last month. the national association of realtors said sales dropped 2.7% in august. analysts expected sales to rise. and for the first time nintendo is cutting the price of its top-selling wii game console. the price will be slashed by $50, down to $200. the price cut takes effect this sunday, september 27th. microsoft and sony cut the prices on their playstation and xbox consoles last month. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. back to msnbc. welcome back, everyone. i'm tamron hall, live in new york. >> i'm norah o'donnell, live in washington. in "the big picture" at this hour, new developments out of
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the united nations, the italian foreign minister said now the g-8 nations will give iran until the end of the year to stop enriching uranium or face smu economic sanctions. meanwhile, president obama continued his attempts to contain iran's nuclear program during his second day at the united nations. after the u.n. security council unanimously approved -- this is a big deal -- unanimously approved an american-sponsored resolution aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, and reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism. the president said the united states would play a major role going forward. >> that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy, that nations with nuclear weapons have the responsibility to move toward disarmament and those without them have the responsibility to foresake them. today the the security endorsed a global effort to lock down our nuclear weapons materiels within four years. the united states will host a summit next april to advance this goal and help all nations
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achieve it. >> of course, all of this comes one day after president obama appeared to get a major concession from russia when president medvedev said he would consider economic sanctions against iran if it refuses to compromise on expansion of its nuclear program. >> and, norah, in "the big picture" one of the nations with especially keen interest in this issue of nuclear weapons is jordan. on the map you see jordan finds itself neighbors with israel, iraq, saudi arabia, lebanon and others. should the iranians ever be able to arm and fire a nuclear warhead, it's possible jordan would find itself in the middle of a conflict. and joining us to talk about this issue she cares deeply for is queen noor, who was married to the late king hussein of jordan and is now chair of the king hussein foundation. she's also the founding leader of global zero, a group of over 200 political and military leaders from all around the world devoting their time to eliminating nuclear weapons. thank you so much for joining
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us. >> thank you. >> let me get your reaction to the u.n. security council unanimously approving this measure. i heard you say that this would be historic but explain why it is. >> it's historic in the sense this is the first time the security council has actually held a meeting on the subject. it's also historic because it was the first time an american president has chaired a u.n. security council meeting. it's historic because it was a unanimous vote on a resolution that called for steps to reach global zero, the elimination of nuclear weapons. it is the beginning, i hope, of a process that will draw in all nuclear states and nonnuclear states, to work in this. >> your majesty, it's norah o'donnell here in washington. thank you so much for joining us. and congratulations on this issue. i know that you have been working so hard on this. there does appear now to be this unanimous decision, that this is a goal that should be reached. what's the next step? doesn't this then require the united states and russia to make
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significant concessions and steps forward? >> the united states and russia, as you know, have the vast majority of what is approximately 23,000 military nuclear weapons today, and they have already committed to deep cuts and they're continuing those discussions and continuing, god willing, those cuts. at the same time in today's session is a step in that direction. it's very important that multilateral negotiations begin for among the nuclear -- all of the nuclear states and nonnuclear states to support this effort. so we need all of the nuclear states to come on board to sign the nct, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and to begin to abide by its provisions, which ultimately would lead to a world without nuclear weapons. >> and your majesty, what do we do in terms of a country like iran? and president mahmoud ahmadinejad, who claims that their program is still a peaceful program for energy
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production? how do we get countries, these rogue nations like iran or north korea on board? >> well, i think it's not only president ahmadinejad but it's also the supreme spiritual leader of iran, who's also declared that their program is not a nuclear weapons program and nuclear weapons are contrary to islam, which they are. indiscriminate killing is counter to islam. the key element here is that all nations are held accountable to the same standards and to the same requirements. we want all nuclear states to join the nct and that is going to be one way to build the kimd of trust and confidence you need between nations and very volatile nations like the middle east to give up their programs if they believe that their security will not be threatened, that they don't need those weapons as a deterrent against forces that are right against them. so that is going to be the key,
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the broader these discussions, the more serious these discussions, and that begins today. the more likely that we'll have diplomatic leverage and that we'll be able to begin to reduce some of the regional insecurities that have led to proliferation. >> before we let you leave, one of the other keys is getting young people involved. i went online and i saw a number of college campuses really rallying around your site. >> yes, today. >> and your mission. that is key. it's easy to turn out or tune out in what sounds like something that can never be achieved. >> that's true. >> but you have hit a nerve with the college campuses. >> because of the resolution today, there's a whole new impetus on the political level, at the highest levels of the global community. today colleges around the country opened up chapters. we need colleges and young people around the world, and people of all ages in communities around the world, especially in nuclear countries to join together to support their leaders taking the bold steps to let go of their nuclear arsenals. >> a lot of them are belonging how inspired they are by you.
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so thank you very much for joining us. greatly appreciate it, her majesty, queen noor of jordan. and it is impressive when i went on the websites to hear college students. here we are, probably eating doritos in our dorm room when we were there age. and they are trying to figure out how to help. the height of the cold war 26,000 nuclear warheads in this world. and these students are getting involved and following the queen there. impressive. >> very impressive what happened in the u.n. security council. tempers flared today in the health care debate on capitol hill. we have live pictures of the senate finance committee. they've been working their way through hundreds of dees amendments to chairman max baucus' bill. at one point republican senator jon kyl was talking about how republicans oppose a, quote, massive government takeover when democratic senator baucus said, hold on a minute. >> at $100 billion -- mr. chairman, let me just complete
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my thought here. >> in about one minute, you'll complete your thought. okay. >> i will complete my thought and then make another point, mr. chairman. >> this is -- >> mr. chairman, it's courteous if you don't interrupt somebody right in the middle of a sentence of an important point they're trying to make. i have nom dt dominated this discussion. i have not filibustered in this markup we have been everything. i have been directly on point and responding directly on point. and i will restate -- >> i ask you not to interrupt, please. >> and congressional correspondent mike viqueira joins us now. mike, sounded a little bit like -- well -- what were they arguing about? >> gentlemen, please. >> yeah. >> they're basically arguing about a point that senator kyl was trying to make. most of the discussion in the morning was about medicare and cuts to medicare that democrats say will streamline or cut out of the all waste. they can find almost $400 billion over the next 10 years in savings to medicare.
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the republican argument is simply that's hogwash. congress never cuts medicare. it's politically untenable. every time this comes up, we're not going to be able to do it. second of all, you can't say you're going to cut medicare and not say you're going to cut benefits for beneficiaries. that's essentially what's going on here. there was a lot of talk about the medicare advantage program as well. what's really gotten under max baucus' skin. he's the chairman of this committee. he said publicly he wants this markup as we call it on capitol hill, this procedure to end by the end of the week. it doesn't look like that's going to happen and many democrats suspect republicans are slow walking this thing, turtle walking, some people call it just to stall things. meanwhile, back on the house side, norah, nancy pelosi now behind closed doors for the second time today. very unusual, with her democrats trying to talk this thing over. she is known to want to push through a public option on the house side when the house votes on their bill, if they vote on their bill. let's hear what she had to say earlier today at her weekly news k conference.
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>> at the end of the day, a public option is the strongest lever that we can use to get the best possible outcome for america's working families. >> the trouble she's having, as many moderates in her party on the house side don't want to vote for a public option since it's not going to be in the senate bill. they will be out in the limb and have it sawed off behind them. those are the internal politics right now. they are calling for the vote, the white house, by thanksgiving. that's looking dicey right now, norah. >> mike, i still have a problem figuring out how this sausage gets made at the end of the day, given how divergent the senate and house are. give me your best take on how it gets done. >> well, i think that they stand a chance, norah, but, you know, as the president and democrats are fond of saying, this is very difficult and the one thing that people have a difficulty accepting is maybe it could be too difficult. it remains a possibility. certainly republicans and john boehner has said this again and again think that it's not going to happen and they're going to
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come to the realization it might be tomorrow. it might be three weeks from now, they're not going to be able to do that. democrats don't feel that way. they feel like they're actually making progress and they can see a roadmap full or one that does not include the public option, one that includes 60 votes in the senate, whether they get all of the democrats and olympia snowe or some combination thereof with perhaps a few more republicans, that's what they are looking at. meanwhile, over on the house side, it's the liberals they have to talk down off the ledge because of the lack of the public option, norah? >> mike viqueira, as always, thank you so much. up next -- the top republican in the house accusing president obama of second guessing his own strategy on afghanistan. and many are asking, is he right or wrong? the topic in today's face-off. it will be a heated one. prote. new carefree ultra protection liners, with wings! absorb ten times more, like a pad but feel thin and comfy, like a liner. new carefree® ultra protection™
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your p.a.d. isn't just poor circulation in your legs causing you pain. ok-what is it? dad, it more than doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke. i can't keep anything from you. you better read about plavix. if you have p.a.d., plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots- the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. dad don't put this off. p.a.d. more than doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke. promise me you'll talk with your doctor about plavix? i'll do it. i promise. (announcer) if you have a stomach ulcer or other condition that causes bleeding, you should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk. tell your doctor before planning surgery or taking aspirin or other medicines with plavix, especially if you've had a stroke. some medicines that are used to treat heartburn or stomach ulcers, like prilosec, may affect how plavix works, so tell your doctor if you are taking other medicines. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops,
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tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare, but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than 2 weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. an update for you, after extolling the virtues of socialism, venezuelan president hugo chavez today told the u.n. general assembly he smelled hope, and went on to say it's different from when he last spoke at the u.n. in 2006. >> translator: it doesn't smell of sulfur here anymore. it doesn't smell of sulfur. it's gone. no, it smells of something else. it smells of hope. >> chavez was referring to his last visit to the u.n. in 2006 when he called president george
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w. bush the devil. all right, it's time for today's face-off, and the growing debate over the right way forward in afghanistan. >> and with his expected request for as many as 30,000 additional american troops on the president's desk, we are hearing more about what general stanley mccrystal is saying, the top commander in afghanistan telling "the new york times" that he rejects the idea that his assessment of the war has created a divide among military and civilian leaders. in the quote, the general says a policy debate is warranted. we should not have any ambiguities -- i can't getted word out -- as a nation or collision. i apoll swriz. at the end of the day we're putting young people in harm's way. listen to house minority leader john boehner today, what he says the president is second guessing his own strategy. >> where is the president on this important issue? and all of this waiting and doubting does nothing more than arm the enemy with -- with more information and more time in
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order to further destabilize the country of afghanistan. >> so the question is, would the president really consider denying a request for more troops, and what it would mean for the mission and the politics here at home? here to face off on the subject, democratic strategist keith boykin, who served in the white house to bill clinton. also republican strategist. thank you both for joining us. let me ask you, general mccrystal making it clear there is not a riff. but if you read between the tea leaves, there's certainly a divide between what some in the white house want and what those generals are requesting. >> well, the president is the commander in chief and it's not john boehner or anybody else. the president is the one who ultimately will make that decision. the president, i don't think, is articulating a position any different generally speaking than from what general mccrystal is saying. he's been consistent from the beginning we need more troops in the afghanistan. he supported that from the beginning. i don't think these made a decision about what he will do
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in response to the report that was submitted first to the defense department, before it goes to the president. i think there's some time we have to wait. >> has the president been that de definitive? he said in recent interviews it's time to look at the strategy. he has not said with certitude it's time to put more troops on the ground there other than the first strategy that we saw when he announced more troops were needed at that particular time. >> that was before the afghan elections. what we see is a president willing to be flexible in shifting his strategy. we had and inflexible president in president bush before. i think he will look at all of the information that comes to him from on the ground and other sources. the information coming to him now is he will have to think about what the strategy will be and how to sell that to the american people and to the afghan people who do not want american troops increase there. >> it's been interesting to hear the republican reaction. i have read some of the articles and you're not hearing a lot from the republicans and how this should factor in.
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why send more troops, 10,000 or up to 40,000 if you have a government that allegedly stole this election? >> i got to tell you, it's pretty clear that the white house is way off message on afghanistan. you know, they endorsed this strategy back in march to get rid of the taliban and eradicate al qaeda. now general mccrystal is saying he needs more troops to do that. >> but he said that before the afghan election. i guess i'm asking, should that be factors into the conversation now? >> no, i don't think it should, regardless of the elections, we're supposed to be eradicating terrorism out of afghanistan. >> so we don't have a reliable partner who is corrupt, if you have a leader who may be corrupt, that you don't have a reliable partner, you should send young men and women there? >> i think what's going on here is the administration is kicking the can down the road because they're concerned about what the left wing is going to react if they send 30,000 troops into afghanistan. that's the real question that's going on here. and what's very clear is you make a decision, yes, do you put troops in or no you don't.
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and right now they're hesitating. when you hesitate, countries around the world watch that, they see how we process our decision, and they decide to act. boehner, john boehner's right, we need to move decisively and quickly because that's what a superpower does. >> can i just say, though, john boehner is not the president, not the commander in chief. >> that's absolutely true. >> and it's not just the left who are concerned about this. the american people don't support the idea of increasing the troop presence in afghanistan. >> they are concerned. >> it's going to be a hard sell if there will be a troop increase. but let's be realistic what we are trying to do here. this report from mccrystal just came on his desk august 30th. so there hasn't been a heck of a lot of time to process it, digest it and analyze what to do next. so don't say hesitation just because he's taking his time deliberately trying to decide how to move forward. >> let's get general mccrystal to testify, john boehner agrees with that, and hear what he has to say. just today the joint chiefs of
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staff has come out and general petraeus has come out and endorsed this plan as well. >> ron, let me ask you this, how long -- if you put more troops on the ground, how long do they stay? what is success there? and i want a definition of success from you. >> absolutely. success is when you beat the enemy, when you eradicate al qaeda and the taliban from the face of afghanistan so they can't harm the united states. >> the information that is out there, they are in pakistan. how do you handle that issue? >> if you -- if they are in pakistan, which you definitely don't want to do is abandon afghanistan. if you send troops into pakistan and you leave afghanistan all by itself, then you're creating a safe haven. of course, we should act -- >> what was created under the bush administration there? what was created in afghanistan the many years men and women have been there? i'm curious. >> vice president biden is advocating sending troops into afghanistan and leaving -- pakistan and leaving afghanistan by itself. >> that's not what he's saying. i think it's a
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misrepresentation. >> what's so disturbing to me is we just arrested a major terrorist plot happening in new york city, and some of that is rooted in afghanistan. you know, this is a war on terror. this administration has abandoned. >> and pakistan as well in the report. >> these issues are all interconnected and interrelated. we all understood that. >> absolutely. good thing you know that. >> let's not politicize. this is american's foreign policy. >> isn't that what the obama administration is doing? >> no, that's what you're doing. gentlemen, we are out of time. that's why this is so important to debate. as you both pointed out, they are young men and women, while we sit here behind our desks in the air conditioning of the studio, they are out there. and that's important. and that's why it's worth the debate of serious nature. chief ron, thank you very much. sorry to cut you off. thank you. >> thank you. tamron, i have to point out, i know we're short on time, but you made two really good, important points. that the taliban members are actually coordinating a lot of these attacks in afghanistan
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from a sanctuary in pakistan. >> absolutely. >> the second thing, too, how do you have a counterinsurgency program with a failed state when you don't have a partner to do that? you made two really good points that i think are worth bringing up. you know what, we should have the general on capitol hill to answer questions from both members. men and women's lives are at stake. >> "hardball" with chris matthews, norah, massachusetts governor deval patrick is going to explain his decision to name paul kirk, one with controversy. but kirk will fill the seat of late senator ted kennedy. that will be on "hardball" up next. announcer: "it looks like nothing else on the road right now," proclaims "gq" magazine. did you see that? the interior "positively oozes class," raves "car magazine." "slick and sensuous," boasts "the washington times."
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there's a lot going on here today. here are a couple of things we thought you should know. >> first lady michelle obama will have company next month because queen o -- the other o, oprah winfrey, will join the delegation to lobby the international olympic committee to award the 2016 games to the city of chicago. that's what they're hoping. the ioc will make their choice october 2 &ed. chicago looks good now, norah. >> how can they turn down oprah? wow. it looks like tom delay will be burning up the dance floor for at least another week on "dancing with the stars." tamron, thank goodness, we will be able to talk about this and i'm excited. the house majority leader was spared during last night's elimination. this despite his low score for monday's cha-cha and his hip swinging. >> rumor has it norah o'donnell called and voted for tom delay and she was part of the group keeping him on. that's what i heard, norah. those are the things we thought you should know today. >> that's right. and moving on. almost a month after ted
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kennedy's death, the democrats will officially regain their 60th seat in the senate tomorrow. but that 60th seat doesn't necessarily give them the filibuster-proof majority. right, tamron? >> that's right. let's get right to our next read of the politics with the story we will be talking about heading into tomorrow, mark murray, deputy political director for nbc news. mark, not a lot of time. what do you have for us? >> hi, tamron and norah. that 60th senate vote, paul kirk actually gets sworn into the senate tomorrow. he, as you mentioned, is replacing ted kennedy. also tomorrow, the senate finance committee is finishing up the work on the health care bill. but a note of caution, the work can be pushed into next week or the weekend. and then finally, president obama finishes up his work at the g-20 tomorrow before heading back to the white house. >> all right. a lot there. thank you very much, mark murray. another great show. we will be back tomorrow. check out "first read" in the morning. that's updated throughout the
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day. i'm tamron hall. >> and i'm norah o'donnell. up next is "hardball" with chris matthews. that starts right now. the democrats have 60. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm mike barnicle, in today for chris matthews. leading off tonight, filibuster proof. the democrats got their 60th senate seat today. massachusetts governor deval patrick named paul kirk, cheese ally and former chairman of the democratic national committee to temporarily fill ted kennedy's seat until next year's general election. kirk is expected to be a reliable volt for the democrats' health care reform plan, which was ted kennedy's long-fought mission. and the man who appointed him, governor deval patrick, will be here tonight. next, president obama told the united nations general assembly that he is seeking a new era of engagement with the
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world, but can an extended hand prompt world leaders to solve the name international problems that vex the bush administration, like iran's nuclear ambitions, middle east peace and afghanistan? and playing the victim. new york governor david paterson sure has a strange way of pushing back on president obama's suggestion that he not run. first, his wife said it was, quote, very unfair, unquote, of the white house to discourage the first african-american governor of new york from running. and then governor paterson himself said he never really wanted to job, and was hoping for hillary clinton's senate seat. is paterson any match for the obama machine? plus, president obama wasn't the only one who embarked in an all-out media blitz. bill clinton has been making the rounds himself, and he may be one of obama's best salesmen for health care reform. that's in the "politics fix." finally, the late-night reviews are in on sarah palin's


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